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DeSantis and Trump Face Off in Iowa as Primary Season Begins

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump – the two front-runners for the GOP nomination in the 2024 presidential election – will kick off the Republican primary in earnest with warring visits to Iowa on Friday and Monday.

The do-si-do marks the first campaign trips to the perennially important first-in-the-nation caucus state for both contenders. The two have been circling each other for weeks now, with Trump taking shots at and heaping criticism upon DeSantis, whom he once considered a protege, and DeSantis largely ignoring Trump.

DeSantis, 44, has yet to formally enter the race. But with political action committees springing up to help bankroll his ticket and a new book to stump, he’s widely expected to make a formal announcement after the Sunshine State’s legislative session closes in May.

During the visit to the Hawkeye State, DeSantis is slated to speak about his book, “The Courage to Be Free,” at the Rhythm City Casino in Davenport on Friday morning before heading to Des Moines to give another book speech at the State Fairgrounds and meet at the Capitol with Republican state legislators.

Trump, 76, is also set to be in Davenport on Monday, where he plans to speak about his “America First Education Policy,” among other things.

With less than a year to go before the Iowa caucuses anoint a winner in the first Republican primary contest, the trips by the two GOP heavyweights are considered late in the presidential election cycle – especially as their potential rivals have been hand-shaking on the ground for weeks.

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Public Notices

Japan just found 7,000 islands it didn’t know it had

Japan has recounted its islands – and discovered it has 7,000 more than it previously thought.

Digital mapping by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) recently found there to be 14,125 islands in Japanese territory, more than double the figure of 6,852 that has been in official use since a 1987 report by Japan’s Coast Guard.

However, the GSI this week stressed that the new figure reflected advances in surveying technology and the detail of the maps used for the count – it did not change the overall area of land in Japan’s possession.

It said that while there is no international agreement on how to count islands, it had used the same size criterion as the previous survey 35 years ago.

That entailed counting all naturally occurring land areas with a circumference of at least 100 meters (330 feet).

The new number does not include any artificially reclaimed land.

The islands surrounding Japan have been at the heart of several territorial disputes.

Japan lays claim to the Russian-held southern Kuril islands, which Tokyo calls the Northern Territories, a dispute that dates to the end of World War II, when Soviet troops seized them from Japan.

Japan also says it has a historical claim to the uninhabited Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which it currently administers, but China has repeatedly challenged that claim.

Meanwhile, Japan and South Korea remain locked in a more than 70-year dispute over the sovereignty of a group of islets known as Dokdo by Seoul and Takeshima by Tokyo in the Sea of Japan, which Korea calls the East Sea.

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Yosemite National Park to partially reopen after 3-week closure

Yosemite National Park will begin to reopen Saturday with limited access and hours, the US National Park Service has announced. The park remains closed today.

The popular park, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, was closed because of a series of damaging storms that have swept across the region in recent weeks.

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Public Notices

Charles and Camilla

Britain’s King Charles III and his wife, Queen Camilla, have been married since 2005. They reportedly met at a polo match in 1970 and became friends when Charles was a prince.

When Charles joined the Royal Navy in 1971, Camilla married cavalry officer Andrew Parker Bowles.

Charles married Diana Spencer in 1981 but then admitted in 1994 that he had been having an extramarital affair with Camilla. Diana confirmed his infidelity and her own the following year.

Camilla got a divorce in 1995, and Charles and Diana divorced in 1996. Camilla all but vanished from public life at the time as public and media support swung behind Diana.

In 1999, Clarence House embarked on a program to reintroduce Camilla to the public with a carefully orchestrated first appearance with Charles outside the Ritz Hotel in London.

Six years later, their decades-long love story culminated in a wedding that had the consent of Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Camilla was confirmed as Charles’ official consort and future queen.

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